Rams find redemption in 45-7 win over Dacula

Wayne Gallman

Wayne Gallman

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LOGANVILLE -- This was more like what Grayson football fans have become accustomed to seeing from their team.

It's also what head coach Mickey Conn was looking to see a week after a shocking upset loss at Parkview as the eighth-ranked Rams rolled up 453 total yards and held visiting Dacula to just 106.

More importantly, they held on to the football -- for the most part -- and rolled to a 45-7 victory Friday night at Grayson Community Stadium.

Wayne Gallman ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns, while Aares McCall added 104 yards and the Grayson (3-1, 1-1) defense smothered Dacula's running game, holding the Falcons (0-4, 0-2) to minus-51 yards on the ground.

Not that it was a perfect game as Conn found plenty of room for improvement -- namely, 16 penalties worth 126 yards.

Still, it was a step in the right direction as far as he was concerned after last week's mistake-filled loss.

"We've still got a ways to go to be the kind of team we want to be," Conn said. "Our run game's back (Friday) night to what it needs to be, but we've still got to do a better job of breaking tackles and making more explosive plays back there.

"I thought we came off the ball well, but we'd get a big play, and then we'd get a penalty to bring it back. We've got to be more disciplined."

The fumble-itis the Rams suffered through in committing four turnovers last week actually lasted through their first possession Friday, when Tohrey Williams pounced on a loose ball to give the Falcons possession at the Grayson 25 just 3:09 into the game.

But the Rams' defense held tough, and on fourth and 1 from the 16, Jaiquan Brown got Grayson ball right back by recovering an errant shotgun snap at its own 32.

"We had a chance on fourth and 1 to convert down there," Dacula coach Jared Zito said. "We got a high snap and didn't hold onto it. That may have been a been a difference, at least early, in terms of getting momentum and getting going in the right direction."

The turnover got Grayson moving back in the right direction.

Three plays later facing third and 17 on its own 25 after a holding penalty, David McTier hit Korey Anderson in stride, and the senior broke a tackle and sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown that put Grayson up 7-0 with 5:33 left in the first quarter.

Two plays later, the Rams grabbed another Dacula fumble, this time by Marquise Motley on the Falcons' 10, which Gallman turned into a 9-yard TD run two plays later to extend the lead to 14-0 with 4:22 left in the quarter.

From there, the Rams' defense began to clamp down.

The Rams allowed Dacula just two more first downs -- one of them by penalty -- over the remainder of the first half, and limiting the Falcons to just 29 total yards, including minus-44 yards on the ground, thanks to sacks by Robert Nkemdiche and Motley and two more smothering tackles for loss by Nkemdiche.

Meanwhile, the Grayson running game kept rolling along, with Gallman adding another touchdown of 5 yards and McTier scoring on a 4-yard bootleg in the second quarter -- part of 122 first-half rushing yards -- to take a 28-0 lead into halftime.

"After the loss, we had to go back to our old practice habits," said Gallman, who added a 21-yard reception to finish with 137 yards of total offense on the evening. "It's going to be that way the rest of the season. ... We just had to come back on offense and show we're not going to fumble again. We've just got to keep redeeming ourselves."

Dacula kept fighting the second half, taking advantage of a pass interference penalty deep in Grayson territory to get on the board on Brandon Goodson's 8-yard scramble, pulling the Falcons to within 28-7 with 7:59 left in the third quarter.

"I'm proud of our kids for fighting to the end of the game regardless of the score," Zito said. "That's a step in the right direction."

But Grayson answered with Alex Louthan's 43-yard field goal later in the quarter, and the Rams pounded away in the fourth quarter for two more scores -- a 1-yard dive by Nkemdiche and an 11-yard scamper by reserve A.J. Stinson.